It’s funny when you think about social media and radio. Radio has always been a social media. Highly skilled radio personalities of the past were good at working crowds with real engagement, remembering names (validating listeners) and encouraging listeners to participate in local charities and join their radio station in doing good things in the local community and for causes like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
So all this talk about social media being new is….not so new to radio. However, because so many people are focused on digital development with consumers (listeners), social media in the digital world can seem intimidating. It shouldn’t be. Consider these ideas:
1. If you went to a social business party or even high school reunion, you would know the difference between someone who was really engaged, interested in others, able to connect and share interesting stories, or be helpful to other party guests, and someone who was just passing out business cards and talking about themselves. Your listeners can tell the difference in social media, too. Social media done right requires that you “put yourself out there” and that you try to be interested in others. Like being at the real party, this is a digital one where those who really engage become more connected and valuable to everyone. That spreads influence and it isn’t simply promotion.
2. If you went to a party and stood in the corner, not many people would know a lot about you. The party would come and go and everyone would leave. What would the benefit be for you or for them in your being at the party? None. Instead, what if you were entertaining? If you brought value to the room and every conversation with pictures on your iPhone or other smart phone, a few funny stories, you listened to others and “brought them out” by being genuinely interested in the story of what is happening in their life right now? Well, you would be a hit. Memorable. Connective. In this same way, you should think about social media as a place for brief stories that are sometimes told with entertaining pictures or video. Bringing the “fun” of radio into social media environments can be engaging for listeners; listening to them and validating them can help them warm to you in social media and follow you back to your platform – radio. That should be a goal of your social media.
3. When you drop into a party, you may notice that some people have a more service-oriented heart. That means that they are the ones who ask if you would like a drink refill or they offer to get you a drink at the bar. Perhaps they greet you and start the conversation and you notice they do this a lot. In social media, that could be you. In other words, you can be the person who offers assistance and you can engage people on the grounds of being helpful to them. Start the conversation. Bring some fun into someone’s life. In our disconnected society of reality TV, longer work hours, more stress, and often living in neighborhoods where you don’t know the guy three houses down from you, social media is a way people reach out and try to feel connected, important, engaged. If you know this and work to help validate local listeners by focusing on helping them, you will be the hit at this party. Every time.
Social media does not have to be complicated. It is about connecting with people by showing them who you are and making it clear that you are there for them if they need it, you help others and you open yourself up so you can be seen as a real person. People react fastest to authenticity. Don’t kid yourself. Listeners can feel it when you are being real. This is especially true in an environment like social media when so many businesses (and individuals) can sometimes try to fake it to manipulate you. Be real, be helpful, be entertaining, and bring some fun to the party and see if you are not the hit on the social media platform of your choice. More than this, you will be able to engage and bring these listeners back to your radio station to continue the party!
*Content originally appeared @ RadioInk.com. For more content on radio, go to RadioInk.com. Look for my column on social media and radio on the left-hand side of the homepage behind my picture and the word “Engagement.”
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Loyd Ford is the Direct Marketing, Ratings & Social Media Strategy for Americalist Direct Marketing. He works with media brands all across the country to improve ratings and participation with custom contest strategy, telemarketing, strategic direct mail and social media for radio clients. Contact him directly @ 877.475.6864 or Americalist1@aol.com.